Friday, December 18, 2009

Just Trying to Be Better People

It's never dull having conversations with folks who are interested in, or skeptical about, becoming part of your church family. The questions asked are usually pointed, and being the answer man means I'm under the microscope.

I had a fun one last week. This particular gentleman sounded like a regular viewer of FOX News. From the tone of his voice, it was easy to tell that he didn't harbor a lot of affection for the current governing party in Washington. His question for me didn't have anything to do with church programs, or doctrine, or even the Bible. He simply asked me a question about Washington liberals, then backed up a half step, raised an eyebrow, opened his eyes wide, and looked to pay close attention to how I answered his question.

I'm not a politician. So, rather than dodging the question & answering the question I wish had been asked, I answered the question he asked. It was an uncomfortable question, and I told him I couldn't speak for every family member at the Lynn Haven Church, but here's what I thought the Bible said & here's what I think about it. He seemed satisfied.

But then I went further. And I told him that from time to time we'll discuss big world matters like that in Bible Class. In fact, he was just a week late to a lively study over Romans 13 and Revelation 13. HOWEVER, by & large, we don't spend a whole lot of time discussing matters that are mostly out of our control. That we try to focus on what we can control, and that's ourselves.

And that, just looking at the various books of the Bible, they weren't written at government, or at the world. The world is going to be the world. Government is going to be the government. Scripture, however, is aimed at God's people. It's written to Israel, and it's written to the Church. It's addressing how they live, not how others should live and conduct themselves and enact public policy.

It's a simple notion, but one that's lost track of from time to time.

So I concluded with the thought that we're just trying to be better people. That God's provided us a way to do just that. And that we were a group committed to following that way.

It's like the parable of the talents. If you're able to read this, it's quite likely that you've been exorbitantly blessed. So are you using your blessings to be an even BETTER blessing? Are you allowing yourself to be sharpened to become a better person? As you look over the last 12 months, do you like who you've become more than who you were?

I do. I actually fell short for all three of my New Year's Resolutions for this year, but that doesn't mean that I didn't reap a better me through the struggle. And I'm encouraged to reset some goals, and maybe set a new one, knowing that it's a better, stronger Philip that's tackling 2010 than tackled 2009.

I love resolutions. If you hate that word, say goals. But set some. And start chipping away at them here in a couple weeks after the harried pace of the Holidays fades away & normalcy resumes. Resolutions or goals may nag you, but they make you better as long as you don't give up on them.

And being better is important. Because that's a big part of what life is all about.


musearegreat said...

wow that was boring in so many ways talk a look at my blog its better you see different websites!

His Song to Sing said...

Very nice post, Philip. I needed the reminder that even though we may not reach all our goals, we still grow through the struggle.

Anonymous said...

@ musearegreat: you are so right; this was boring in so many ways. i talked a look at your blog and it is far better than this one. thanks for the advice. I see different websites, indeed.

p.s., III. I read this I think the day you posted it, but hadn't gotten around to commenting.

I really liked how you tied resolutions/goals to the talents parable. I think that's spot on. Thanks for the encouragement to improve!

Joey T. said...

Hmmm...Why do we study scripture? Is it so that we can "be better people"? I suppose there IS that...but I don't think that should be our primary goal. We already know more than we live up to, don't we? So why study more? Should the focus even be on US? Or should the primary purpose for study be to adore; to admire; to wonder at; to honor; to praise Him who we study? It's interesting that you have raised this question, because it is one I have been thinking about a lot lately.

III said...

I do, actually, consider that to be the case. I think that 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 teaches that knowing Scripture is less about knowing stuff and more about doing and becoming. Paul speaks in Romans 8:29 about how, in a manner of speaking, we're being molded like lumps of clay to be shaped more like Him. I think all of that is about making ourselves better people.

I don't deny the vertical element. I don't even argue with you over it's preeminence. But as for the purpose of Scripture, Scripture itself testifies that it's there to "teach us" (Rom. 15:4) how to be better people.